This afternoon, Rep. Janice Hahn (CA-36), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, pressed the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) for answers regarding the discovery of a loaded and undeclared handgun at Los Angeles International Airport.
"It is troubling enough that ten years after September 11, an undeclared, unsecured and loaded firearm escaped detection in baggage screening," noted Rep. Hahn in the letter.
Despite TSA's website plainly laying out the rules and regulations for the transportation of firearms and the penalties that accompany failure to follow them, a TSA spokesman told the Los Angeles Times "It's the airline and passenger's responsibility to ensure that firearms are transported correctly."
"I would like to know," Rep. Hahn asks in the letter, "if TSA is not enforcing its own regulations about loaded firearms in luggage, who is?"
The full text of Rep. Hahn's letter is below:
October 26, 2011
The Honorable John S. Pistole
Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Administrator Pistole,
As I am sure you are aware, over this past weekend a loaded and undeclared .38-caliber handgun fell out of a piece of checked luggage being loaded onto a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.
It is troubling enough that ten years after September 11, an undeclared, unsecured and loaded firearm escaped detection in baggage screening. However, I was especially disturbed to hear the spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration tell the Los Angeles Times that it is not the TSA's responsibility to screen checked baggage for guns. As reported on October 23, TSA spokeswoman Laurie Dankers said, "It's the airline and passenger's responsibility to ensure that firearms are transported correctly."
TSA's website plainly requires that travelers "must declare all firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process," and that the firearm "must be unloaded" and placed in a container that "completely secures the firearm from being accessed." According to the TSA website, "these regulations are strictly enforced" with civil and criminal penalties of up to ten years in prison.
Yet the TSA has abdicated responsibility. I would like to know, if TSA is not enforcing its own regulations about loaded firearms in luggage, who is?
Member of Congress